There I was with my swollen body aching, lying in a hospital bed. The fear that was consuming me, because I could barely move my legs, was starting to show on my pale and tired face. “Dear God don’t let the epidural have consequences,” I repeated to myself while trying to appear brave and relaxed in front of my mother and husband. They had already had too much with the long and exhaustive twenty hours of labor, many unplanned and scary events and an emergency C-section.
The glorious smell of my baby boy who was peacefully resting in my arms was helping me to forget the nightmare I went through. Everything was just right, perfect, until I got a letter. One of the many letters I have gotten since I married my husband. He’s white, while I am a woman proud of being Latina. As a family, we agreed to give our son both of our last names, as tradition dictates in my culture. We believe that as the father has the right and privilege so does the mother.
The author of the letter doesn’t share my belief. That’s okay, not everybody has to think and feel the same way, but they should respect our decision. The letter was impressed in dark ink and strange handwriting, aggressive ways to persuade my husband to not let me name my child with my last name. It also said, “If you live in America the baby has to carry only your last name.”
When I immigrated to the U.S. five years ago, I had to leave behind my family, friends and homeland. But I brought with me my traditions, the love for my culture and the pride of being Latina. They came with me not only in my suitcases but also in my heart and mind.
I do live in America but I am still Latina, a Honduran and a woman who fights to keep her roots. I wanted to name my son with my last name because he is my son. The relationship we built up while he was in my belly, which will last forever and the fact that I gave him the life gave me that right. I married a man with a different cultural background. My culture will not replace his as his will not replace mine. We are now a bicultural family so our son is bicultural. He has the right to enjoy everything that built up both of our cultures.
Bicultural families already have to face to many challenges. It would be so helpful if the people who are suppose to love you and support you would avoid expressing or imposing their negative opinions.